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Jet owned by Elvis auctioned after sitting 35 years

A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley has been auctioned after sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 35 years.

The plane sold for $430,000 on Saturday at a California event featuring celebrity memorabilia, GWS Auctions Inc. said.

The buyer was not disclosed in the sold note posted on the firm's website, and auctioneer Brigitte Kruse said she could not immediately release information about the buyer or the buyer's plans for the plane.

The auction house says Elvis designed the interior that has gold-tone woodwork, red velvet seats and red shag carpet. But the red 1962 Lockheed Jetstar has no engine and needs a restoration of its cockpit.

The jet was owned by Elvis and his father, Vernon Presley, Liveauctioneers.com says.

It has been privately owned for 35 years and sitting on a tarmac in Roswell, New Mexico.

Photos of the plane show the exterior in need of restoration and seats of the cockpit torn.

A previous owner disputed the auction house's claim the king of rock 'n' roll designed its red velvet interior.

Roy McKay told KOB-TV in Albuquerque (https://goo.gl/GpE3zV) he designed the interior himself. McKay said that when he purchased the jet, it had a two-toned gray interior and "kind of looked like a casket."

But then-GWS spokesman Carl Carter told The Associated Press the auction house is confident Elvis designed the interior, which photos show has red velvet seats and red shag carpet.

Federal Aviation Administration records show no interior changes were ever made to the jet, Carter said.

Presley was born in Tupelo on Jan. 8, 1935, and moved to Memphis with his parents at age 13. He became a leading figure in the fledgling rockabilly scene by covering songs originally performed by African-American artists like Big Mama Thornton ("Hound Dog") and Arthur Crudup ("That's All Right").

His provocative dancing and hit records turned him into one of the 20th century's most recognizable icons. Historians say his music also helped usher in the fall of racial segregation.

Elvis was 42 when he died on Aug. 16, 1977, in Memphis.

Southern rock founding father Gregg Allman dies at age 69

Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel The Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday, his manager said. He was 69.

Allman died peacefully and surrounded by loved ones at his home near Savannah, Georgia, his manager, Michael Lehman, told The Associated Press. He blamed cancer for Allman's death.

"It's a result of his reoccurrence of liver cancer that had come back five years ago," Lehman said in an interview. "He kept it very private because he wanted to continue to play music until he couldn't."

Allman played his last concert in October as health problems forced him to cancel other 2016 shows. He announced on Aug. 5 that he was "under his doctor's care at the Mayo Clinic" due to "serious health issues." Later that year, he canceled more dates, citing a throat injury. In March, he canceled performances for the rest of 2017.

Funeral arrangements had not been finalized Saturday. But Lehman said Allman would be buried alongside his late brother, founding Allman Brothers guitarist Duane Allman, at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, where the band got its start nearly five decades ago.

"He'll be laid next to his brother, Duane," Lehman said. "That's in his wishes."

Southern rock and country musician Charlie Daniels said via Twitter, "Gregg Allman had a feeling for the blues very few ever have hard to believe that magnificent voice is stilled forever."

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, the rock star known for his long blond hair was raised in Florida by a single mother. Allman idolized his older brother, Duane, eventually joining a series of bands with him. Together they formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band.

The original band featured extended jams, tight guitar harmonies by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, rhythms from a pair of drummers and the smoky, blues-inflected voice of Gregg Allman. Songs such as "Whipping Post," ''Ramblin' Man" and "Midnight Rider" helped define what came to be known as Southern rock and opened the doors for such stars as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band.

In his 2012 memoir, "My Cross to Bear," Allman described how Duane was a central figure in his life in the years after their father was murdered by a man he met in a bar. The two boys endured a spell in a military school before being swept up in rock music in their teens. Although Gregg was the first to pick up a guitar, it was Duane who excelled at it. So Gregg later switched to the organ.

They failed to crack success until they formed The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. Based in Macon, Georgia, the group featured Betts, drummers Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson and Butch Trucks and bassist Berry Oakley. They partied to excess while defining a sound that still excites millions.

Their self-titled debut album came out in 1969, but it was their seminal live album "At Fillmore East" in 1971 that catapulted the band to stardom.

Duane Allman had quickly ascended to the pantheon of guitar heroes, not just from his contributions to the Allman band, but from his session work with Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and with Eric Clapton on the classic "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" album. But he was killed in a motorcycle accident in October 1971, just months after recording the Fillmore shows. Another motorcycle accident the following year claimed Oakley's life. .

In a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, Gregg Allman said Duane remained on his mind every day. Once in a while, he could even feel his presence.

"I can tell when he's there, man," Allman said. "I'm not going to get all cosmic on you. But listen, he's there."

The 1970s brought more highly publicized turmoil: Allman was compelled to testify in a drug case against a former road manager for the band and his marriage to the actress and singer Cher was short-lived even by show business standards.

In 1975, Cher and Allman married three days after she divorced her husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono. Their marriage was tumultuous from the start; Cher requested a divorce just nine days after their Las Vegas wedding, although she dismissed the suit a month later.

Together they released a widely panned duets album under the name "Allman and Woman." They had one child together, Elijah Blue, and Cher filed for legal separation in 1977.

Cher said via Twitter on Saturday, "IVE TRIED.WORDS ARE IMPOSSIBLE."

The Allman Brothers Band likewise split up in the 1980s and then re-formed several times over the years. A changing cast of players has included Derek Trucks, nephew of original drummer Butch Trucks, as well as guitarist Warren Haynes.

Starting in 1990, more than 20 years after its founding, the reunited band began releasing new music and found a new audience. In 1995 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Award for best rock instrumental performance for "Jessica" the following year.

In 2000, Betts was ousted from the band via fax for alleged substance abuse and poor performance and he hasn't played with the band since.

Butch Trucks died in January 2017. Authorities said he shot himself in front of his wife at their Florida home.

Lehman said Allman had recently finished what would be his final album, titled Southern Blood and scheduled for release in September.

"He actually just listened to a few tracks of it last night and was really passionate and excited for that record to be complete," Lehman said.

In his memoir, Allman said he spent years overindulging in women, drugs and alcohol before getting sober in the mid-1990s. He said that after getting sober, he felt "brand new" at the age of 50.

"I never believed in God until this," he said in an interview with The Associated Press in 1998. "I asked him to bring me out of this or let me die before all the innings have been played. Now I have started taking on some spiritualism."

However, after all the years of unhealthy living he ended up with hepatitis C which severely damaged his liver. He underwent a liver transplant in 2010.

The statement on Allman's website says that as he faced health problems, "Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times."

After the surgery, he turned music to help him recover and released his first solo album in 14 years "Low Country Blues" in 2011.

"I think it's because you're doing something you love," Allman said in a 2011 interview with The Associated Press. "I think it just creates a diversion from the pain itself. You've been swallowed up by something you love, you know, and you're just totally engulfed."

The band was honored with a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2012.

___

Hall reported from Nashville, Tennessee.

Legendary musician Gregg Allman dies at 69

Legendary southern rock musician Gregg Allman has died, according to a posting on his official website. He was 69.

The statement on the official website reads in part: “It is with deep sadness that we announce that Gregg Allman, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia.”

>> Read more trending news

The musician had been in poor health recently. He had undergone a liver transplant in 2010.

Allman founded The Allman Brothers Band with his late brother, Duane. 

The music community took to social media to express their condolences.

Judge blocks construction of airstrip by actor Bruce Willis

A judge has blocked actor Bruce Willis' plan to build a private airstrip in central Idaho.

The Idaho Mountain Express (http://bit.ly/2r6T4Gr ) reports that 5th District Judge Robert Elgee ruled that Camas County commissioners violated state law when drafting an ordinance allowing individuals to obtain conditional-use permits to build a private airport in agricultural-zoned county lands.

Willis began construction on an 8,500-foot dirt runway last year. However, the project was halted in September after Planning and Zoning Administrator Dwight Butlin discovered that the airport site was on land zoned for agricultural use.

Work was allowed to resume when the county tweaked the ordinance, which sparked a lawsuit filed by Camas County residents.

Elgee said in his May 19 ruling that Camas County showed a "complete disregard" for property rights and the well-being of the neighborhood.

Camas County Attorney Matt Pember said the county was disappointed with the judge's decision.

___

Information from: Idaho Mountain Express, http://www.mtexpress.com

Some women-only screenings planned for 'Wonder Woman'

Take a seat, "Thor."

Scattered plans among Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas to host women-only screenings of the upcoming "Wonder Woman" movie have produced both support and some grumbling about gender discrimination.

Various locations have taken to social media in response, including the operators of the Brooklyn theater promising on Twitter to funnel proceeds from women-only screenings in early June to Planned Parenthood. And by women only, they mean staff, too.

Some of the screenings were already selling out despite social media haters, many of whom are men, and several have been added.

The offer of special screenings began recently in Austin, Texas, where Alamo has held specialty screenings in the past for military veterans and others. As for "Wonder Woman," the Alamo in Brooklyn posted a statement online saying what better way to celebrate the most iconic superheroine than with "an all-female screening?"

"Apologies, gentlemen, but we're embracing our girl power and saying 'No Guys Allowed' for several special shows at the Alamo Downtown Brooklyn. And when we say 'Women (and people who identify as women)only,' we mean it. So lasso your geeky girlfriends together and grab your tickets to this celebration of one of the most enduring and inspiring characters ever created."

The movie opens June 2 based on the DC Comics character. It was directed by Patty Jenkins and stars Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince.

Long-awaited display of restored Memphis Belle set for 2018

The fabled World War II bomber Memphis Belle will finally go on public display next spring at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force alongside John F. Kennedy's presidential plane, an early Wright Brothers flyer and other national treasures.

The journey from the flak-ridden skies over occupied France and Germany to restoration and display in the Ohio museum has been long for one of the most celebrated American planes to survive the war.

The B-17F "Flying Fortress," feted as one of the first to make it through the required 25 bombing missions, arrived at the museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in pieces a dozen years ago. It was in rough shape, having been on display outside for decades in its namesake city where it deteriorated from weather and vandalism.

Restoration work by an army of volunteers has continued for years, delayed by a major expansion at the sprawling museum near Dayton and other restoration projects vying for attention. An unveiling of the restored warbird now is scheduled for May 17, 2018 — the 75th anniversary of the crew's 25th and final mission. The Memphis Belle will be displayed as the centerpiece of an exhibit on the strategic bombing campaign that broke the back of Germany's wartime production.

"This is an American icon," said Jeff Duford, curator of the Memphis Belle exhibit. "It's like the flag that flew at Iwo Jima or the USS Arizona. This is one of those things that's truly legendary and represents America and our spirit."

Since B-17 parts are no longer manufactured, volunteers have worked long, painstaking hours fabricating them from scratch and reassembling the plane inside a cavernous restoration hangar at the museum. The wing tips just went on, but the fuselage skin is still being riveted on. And it's still missing the plastic nose cone, tail section and an authentic paint job.

Greg Hassler, who is supervising the restoration, knows the clock is now ticking.

"We will have it done," Hassler vowed. "The airplane will look like it did on its 25th mission on 17 May of next year."

The four-engine bomber bristling with .50-caliber machine guns was piloted by then-Lt. Robert Morgan and had its famous name before it left the U.S. mainland. Morgan, who died in 2004, said it was inspired by his sweetheart, 19-year-old Memphis resident Margaret Polk. The actual moniker came from a riverboat in a John Wayne movie called "Lady for a Night" that Morgan and his co-pilot saw the night before the crew voted on a name.

Before heading for Europe, Morgan flew the bomber to Memphis, where Polk christened it with a bottle of champagne amid much fanfare.

The Memphis Belle, with the leggy Esquire magazine pinup girl painted on the nose, survived six months of punishing air combat in 1942-43 during missions to bomb factories and submarine pens. In doing so, the airplane and its crew beat the odds in a big way. Two out of three young men — their average age was 20 — who flew on those B-17 missions from airfields in England did not survive the war. One out of every 18 planes was lost to combat.

Because the plane's crew members sometimes flew in other planes, they actually completed their requisite 25th mission two days before the Belle, which flew its 25th on May 19, 1943, making it one of the first B-17s to do so.

After being honored by the Army brass and the king and queen of England, most of the original crew and plane were reunited for a highly publicized tour of the U.S. to help sell war bonds in the summer of 1943, including a stop at the same Ohio Air Force base where it will now reside permanently.

A 1944 William Wyler documentary added to the lore of the Belle, while younger generations were introduced to it in a 1990 hit movie that was a fictionalized account of the final mission.

Despite the Memphis Belle's installation at the Air Force museum, the legislature in Tennessee earlier this year designated it as that state's official airplane.

___

Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacy

John Kasich shows off pop culture savvy on ‘The View’  

John Kasich famously referred to himself as the “only adult on the stage” during a presidential debate last year, but the Republican governor of Ohio also knows how to connect with teens, thanks to his pop culture knowledge.

>> Read more trending news

On Thursday, Kasich appeared on “The View” and gave his opinions about the Katy Perry-Taylor Swift feud, surprising the show’s panel with his knowledge about music, celebrity spats and dropping names like former One Direction member Zayn Malik.

"We need your insight into a battle that has got this country just split right down the middle,” co-host Whoopi Goldberg began. “Can you explain what in the hell is going on … with Taylor Swift and Katy Perry?"

Kasich did not hesitate, saying it was “shocking to everybody.”

“Don’t ever steal anybody’s dancers, is the message," the governor said, referring to Perry’s admission on “The Late Late Show” this week about the pair’s alleged feud over shared backup dancers.

“Maybe they’re just trying to get some extra press, although I don’t know that Taylor Swift needs any more press,” Kasich said. “In fact, she kind of went into hiding, and now they say she’s going to reemerge with a new sound.”

Kasich, a 65-year-old father of twin 17-year-old girls, then spoke about Swift’s recent hit with Zayn, “I Don’t Want to Live Forever,” and her collaboration with former boyfriend Calvin Harris on “This is What You Came For.” 

“I will tell you, [Swift] met my wife and kids at a concert. She knew everything about my wife and my children. She was just unbelievably great,” Kasich said. “And Katy, you know, I have a friend that knows Katy Perry, and she’s very talented. So, two great pop artists.”

Kasich said his love of pop culture was a welcome break from the grind of politics. 

“You can do it ’til the day you die,” he said. “And I find it interesting, and I find it a nice break from the world of debates and all those kinds of things.”

Bank forecloses on ‘Extreme Makeover’ homeowner in Michigan

Nearly nine years ago, Arlene Nickless had her home rebuilt on national television. By Monday, she must turn in her keys and leave.

>> Read more trending news 

Designers with ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” helped by hundreds of volunteers — built her family's home in 2008 after the death of Tim Nickless, her husband of 18 years. But keeping up payments on the mortgage has been a struggle, and it was foreclosed in September, the Lansing State Journal reported. It has been up for auction online for weeks.

“When I stepped out of the house the day “Extreme Makeover came, you will see me say ‘I can’t believe this is happening,’” she said. “And, truthfully, that’s what I feel right now: I can’t believe this is happening.”

Arlene Nickless did not blame the ABC television show, whose pricey rebuild have led to foreclosures in some cases, However, she did criticize her mortgage company, the Lansing State Journal reported.

Her home’s foreclosure resulted from an ongoing struggle to manage the property’s pre-makeover mortgage — a balance of about $30,000 after the 2008 makeover, but had ballooned to at least $113,000 by the end of 2016, she told the newspaper.

Eight months after Tim Nickless died in January 2008, more than 1,600 volunteers from the Holt area joined the show’s crew to rebuild the family home, an 1860s farmhouse that had fallen into disrepair.

The old home was demolished, and after a five-day building period, Arlene Nickless and her three sons received a new 3,300-square-foot, four-bedroom home with stone columns, dark wood floors, an indoor water wall, and a retractable flat-screen television, the Lansing State Journal reported.

But the home's annual taxes more than tripled from 2008 to 2009, from about $2,000 in 2008 to about $7,500 in 2009, according to county records.

Those increased taxes and insurance costs were paid through an escrow account, bloating the Nickless family's monthly mortgage payments.

In 2010, Arlene Nickless was in a car crash that caused her to fall behind in making those monthly payments. By late 2010, the property went to a sheriff’s sale, the Lansing State Journal reported.

She filed paperwork to stop the foreclosure the morning of the sale, and the sheriff's deed, which would have given ownership rights to the buyer at the sale, was removed, according to Ingham County records.

At that time, Arlene Nickless said the mortgage lender offered to pay off the loan balance if she could come up with $15,000.

Before she had a chance to gather the money, Ocwen Financial acquired her mortgage in 2011, she said. For the next several years, Arlene Nickless struggled with the loan.

She withheld mortgage payments because she didn’t know where she was sending her money, she said.

“I was trying to find answers,” she told the Lansing State Journal.

Last month, the state of Michigan issued a cease and desist order prohibiting Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC from continued violations of state mortgage law. A press release from the state said Ocwen had a history of improper "servicing and handling of escrow accounts," trouble keeping accurate records and problems with properly crediting payments. 

Ocwen officials said the claims were unfounded.

In September 2016, Nickless' home went to a foreclosure sale again and sold for about $113,000. The six-month redemption period passed with Nickless unable to pull together the needed money.

The house now is listed on the auction website hubzu.com for $176,000.

The spokesman for “Extreme Makeover’s” producers, Endemol USA, declined comment Wednesday. However, the company acknowledged in a 2010 Wall Street Journal article that beneficiaries had issues with the larger-than-life homes and accompanying expenses, so the company scaled back.

Nickless doesn’t know where she’s going or where she’ll store a lifetime of memories, she said. She wanted to share her story in the hopes that it would effect change for others struggling with house payments.

“It breaks my heart to know there are families going through this every day,” she said.

Father writes open letter to Ariana Grande after Manchester explosion

For parents, the suicide bombing earlier this week in Manchester, England, had to hit home.

So many in attendance at the Ariana Grande concert were children or young adults.

And even if your children weren’t in attendance, you felt something real after learning that 22 people were killed in the attack.

>> Read more trending news

Then there’s Grande, a world-famous singer and performer who will live with this for the rest of her life.

Just hours after the bombing, she sent a tweet to her nearly 50 million followers.

Patrick Millsaps, a father of three young girls from Georgia, saw Grande’s tweet and decided to respond.

He penned an open letter to the singer, and the response has been incredible.

The tweet has been retweeted nearly 25,000 times.

In it, he begins by saying, "I am the father of three daughters — ages 13, 12 and 12. So, you have been a part of our family for years.”

He wrote, “I’m afraid I need to set you straight girl. So listen up and receive some redneck love from a daddy of daughters.”

He said such things as, “You don’t have a dadgum thing to apologize for.”

He told her to, “Spend time with your God, your family and your friends who will give you space and support when you need it.”

His last piece of advice was, “When and only when you are ready, on behalf of all dads who love your… um… whose daughters’ love your music SING AGAIN.”

He closed by saying, “So there you go my dear, unsolicited advice from a fat dude in Georgia who loves his daughters and appreciates that there are people like you in the world. Take care of you first. Your fans aren’t going anywhere.”

Grande, who suspended her "Dangerous Woman" world tour and canceled several European shows after the bombing, announced Friday that she will return to Manchester, England, to give a concert to raise money for the victims of Monday’s deadly bombing at her show there.

In a statement, the pop star said, “We won't let hate win” and offered to “extend my hand and heart and everything I possibility can give to you and yours.

Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before.”

She did not announce a date for the concert.

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor separating after 18 years together

One of Hollywood’s longest-lasting couples is calling it quits.

Entertainment Tonight reported Friday that actors Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor announced in a joint statement they are splitting.

>> Read more trending news

“With tremendous love and respect for each other, and the 18 years we spent together as a couple, we have made the decision to separate,” the statement said. “Our priority will continue to be raising our children as devoted parents and the closest of friends. We kindly ask that the media respect our privacy at this time.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that Taylor and Stiller, parents to Ella, 15, and Quinlin, 11, were married in May 2000 after meeting on the set of a TV pilot Stiller was developing. They began dating in April 1999 and got engaged that November.

Taylor co-stared with Stiller in several of his films, including “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” “Tropic Thunder,” “Zoolander” and “Zoolander 2.”

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